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Reflecting on Your Internship

Reflecting on your internship and taking action based on what you have learned and experienced can be every bit as important as the internship itself.  Here are some key questions to consider as you look back on your experience.

Consider answers to these questions as you begin preparing to search for your next internship, your first full-time job, or as you prepare for graduate school.  If you have a mentor, consider discussing these questions with your mentor to get their perspective.

Building your Network

  • Have you effectively built relationships or networked with the people at your internship site?
  • How can you build a strong network with those with whom you worked with for future benefit?

Career Path

  • If you wanted to follow in the career path of someone at your internship site, what would you need to do to make this happen?  Write down 2 or 3 action steps to make it happen.
  • Can you begin taking these steps now that you are back on campus?

Culture/Collegiality

  • How would you describe the culture at your internship site?  Provide relevant examples.
  • How does this fit with your ideal employer or your work values?
  • If the culture at your internship site did not match your goals or expectations, what did you learn from that?  What needs to be different for you at a future place of employment?

Diversity

  • Did you work with a diverse range of people?
  • How did people from diverse backgrounds work with each other?  What did that teach you?

Goals

  • How does this internship relate to your long-term educational or career goals?
  • Do you need to change your long-term goals as the result of your experience?  If so, what needs to change and what are your next steps?

Mentoring

  • Did you have a mentor?  Was the experience beneficial?
  • Did you observe either informal or formal mentoring taking place within the organization?
  • What does your experience with mentoring tell you about the organization?

Outcomes

  • What about your internship is the most surprising to you (i.e., what did you least expect going into the experience) and what lesson(s) can you draw from this?
  • What, if any, attitudes or beliefs changed for you as a result of your service?
  • Did the internship provide you with any insights that you hadn’t anticipated?

Skills/Tasks

  • What new skills have you learned since beginning your experience?
  • What types of tasks did you discover that you enjoy or excel at completing?
  • What tasks are less attractive or fulfilling?
  • What knowledge and skills did you gain?  How do you plan on applying them in the future?

Adjust your search based on what you’ve learned about yourself and the workplace and, if necessary, change your long-term goals to reflect the information you’ve gathered in your internship.  If you need help, come into the Office of Personal and Career Development to meet with a career counselor and discuss how to apply your new knowledge of in your career search.